I’ve been at my desk for a few hours now, staring into the oblivion that we know as the world wide web in search of answers to a seemingly straightforward question; why does photography matter? For reasons unknown, I’ve never really given it much of a thought even as our lives are further surrounded by images with each passing day. For something that’s so omnipresent, there sure has to be a good enough cause for its eternal existence. Although, I have for a while now been rhetorically asked the question that whether it’s the end of time for photography, both as a medium of communication as well as art?
Having pondered over it for a while now, I’ve come to realize that the answer lies not somewhere across the expanse of the internet (or any other form of popular media) but rather inside of us. And no, I most certainly don’t believe that photography is nearing an end in any possible way. I say this because photography as a medium has the innate ability to achieve so much at once while also affecting each of us in the most uniquely personal manner. We all know that as a science, it’s the play of light that we work with to create a photograph. Yet in the purest of ways, just the right mix of shadows & highlights lends to a photograph an aesthetic appeal that allows for it to be viewed as something more than a simple capture of light. Add to this the idea of freezing a moment in time, the very basis of photography, and you have a blend that’s exceedingly challenging to achieve with any other medium; be it art or storytelling.
In what photography does, a video might seem a bit too fluid and de-emphasize the decisive moment while just the written word may leave too much to one’s imagination. Hence, when in capable hands, photography holds the power to not only strike the right balance between the art of aesthetics and storytelling but also in deciding as to what’s revealed versus what’s left to the viewer’s imagination.
This, however, is my own take on the viability of photography as a medium; and from what I wrote earlier, the answer actually lies differently within each one of us. So, as either a practitioner, enthusiast or consumer of photography, what’s your take? Does photography still matter and if so, then how?